New fossils discovered on an Indonesian island further point to the existence of a separate species of "Hobbit humans," Discovery reported on Thursday.
"The tiny people from Flores were not simply diseased modern humans," said the lead author on the findings, Caley Orr. "The new species of human stood approximately 3' 6" tall, giving it its nickname 'The Hobbit.'"
As detailed in his team's paper in the Journal of Human Evolution, the team discovered wrist bones similar to other bones found on the island, which Orr's team dispels the idea that Homo floresiensis, as they have dubbed the new species, didn't exist.
Based on their findings, Orr and his team said these "Hobbits" may be descendants of a group of Homo erectus that were stranded on the island. They walked on two legs and had relatively long feet -- another Tolkienesque trait -- with sloping forearms, and arms longer than their legs. Their presumed IQ was comparable to that of a chimpanzee.
Researchers also found evidence that the tiny humans were meat-eaters who were able to make fire and use stone tools, a particularly interesting clue, said paleoanthropologist Tracy Kivell, who has studied them for the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. For them to be apparently capable of that, he said, suggests that "Homo floresiensis solved the morphological and manipulative demands of tool-making and tool-use in a different way than Neanderthals and ourselves."
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